Designer Q&A Part II

After my first Q and A, the same friend asked for a follow up interview for a different class. I thought I'd share my answers from December 2017 to her Studio Write Up class. I'm always open to thoughts and reviews — so if you're a freelance designer, in-house designer or work for an agency — I'd love to get your feedback.


1. What is the typical model of ethics adhered to this profession, career or job?

I believe learning the standard principles in professionalism in your field is very important. When you learn the ethics in your industry, it allows you to be on the same page with others — whether it’s respect for clients, others designers, expectations of work, etc. — it provides consistency among your field.


2. Is there a written Code of Ethics for this position?

AIGA, the Professional Association for Design, created a Design Business and Ethics guideline, “to establish consistent professional standards and define the relationship among designers, clients and content.” It states professional behavior, professional expertise and overall professional values or moral principles are what makes up ethics and design. 


3. Where would this information be located? ^

You may have a design mission statement within your company — my overall company does, but the design department does not — but I believe you just learn it as you go. Of course you can research and find the AIGA standards online, but discussing your trade and workflow with others is how I’ve learned best.


4. What is your current outlook on this job?

I’ve been told that a great job is when you continue to grow – and that I do. Fortunately I work under a talented art director who I learn from every project. I will say that while I was in school, I depended on learning from my professors, whether it was the newest Adobe update or company’s rebrand, and that becomes your responsibilities afterwards. Your supervisor is going to expect that you’re keeping up with the newest design trends, so start that practice today.


5. What is the entry level income for this position? 

I believe it varies on where you live or what company you work for, but AIGA says the average salary is: 

Junior Designer: $40,000; Designer (3-4 years): $46,000; Senior Designer: 62,5000; Art Director: 67,5000


6. Is there any typical benefit packages offered to employees in this field?

Again it depends on your company. I personally work for a church that offers benefits for their employees, such as a retirement fund, flexible schedule, health, dental and vision insurance. Always ask what your benefits would be before accepting a job and do your research.


7. Is there any potential for advancement in this career?

At my current company, most advancements are going to be lateral. As a designer, my next step would be senior designer – to art director – and so on. However, there’s opportunity to grow in other areas, for example video production or social media, and then potentially move positions. 


8. Do you have any layoff history while working in this field?

Layoffs are possible in any industry. It’s a scary truth that due to unexpected budget changes or a company restructure, your position may be cut or eliminated. So it’s important to have connections and an updated resume and portfolio at all times.


9. What are the age and degree requirements for this career?

I’d say typically your employer will require a Bachelor of Fine Art (or a degree in your field) and at least a year or two years experience. However, say you’ve done a couple internships or your self taught with an impressive portfolio, your company may be flexible. That said, even when you think you’re not fully qualified for a position, go ahead and apply anyways, because you never know!


10. Are there any career types that tend to succeed or fail in this career?

I don’t think the likeness to fail or succeed is any more or less than other industries. 


11. Are there light or heavy social interactions?

Whether you work in an office or work from home, social skills and personal interactions are unavoidable. I interact with coworkers and clients daily, so knowing how to verbalize and explain your work is very important.


12. What social skills are required for employment?

As I mentioned in the last question, social skills are not necessarily “required” in the design field, but it’s definitely a plus. I believe if you’re great at what you do, whether it’s coding websites or copywriting, social skills can be overlooked. However, communication is a valuable skill everyone should practice.


13. Is the work seasonal and/or limited by geography and/or culture?

Personally, my position is year round, however what we’re working on is all based on the time of year. For example, we’d be working on camp promotions during Spring or Christmas during Fall.


14. Will bilingual or multilingual skills be a factor in hiring and/or career advancement?

Although I don’t think it’s necessary, I believe being able to communicate in other languages allows you to expand your client base — and may even be that deciding factor between you and another applicant.